An exhibition of wrecks, rescues and extraordinary courage was opened in style last week.

‘All at Sea’ at the House of Manannan explores the island’s maritime history and its links to the foundation of the RNLI, which celebrates its 200th anniversary on March 4.

The exhibition uncovers some of the tragic events in Manx waters which motivated island resident Sir William Hillary to establish a national maritime lifesaving institution.

A witness to the hardships during and after sea rescues, Hillary helped save an estimated 500 lives in Manx waters. These events directly influenced his idea for what would become one of the most respected organisations in the world.

The gold medal awarded to Hillary for founding the RNLI has been loaned to the exhibition by the RNLI Heritage Collection Trust.

Officially launching the exhibition, Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer invoked Hillary’s most famous phrase: ‘With courage, nothing is impossible.’

Allison Fox, archaeology curator with Manx National Heritage, told the Examiner: ‘It’s been a fantastic official start to the All at Sea exhibition and it was great to see many of the people who have helped us.

‘We’d like to thank everyone involved in creating the displays and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to the exhibition throughout the year, and sharing the fascinating maritime stories from our surrounding sea.’

‘All at Sea’ will run until January 2025 and several other maritime-themed events are planned over the next few months.